Obama said to be backing down in rift with CIA

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
This author has been reporting on the continuing rift between the incoming Democratic Administration and many in ledership positions at the CIA. The latter openly warned the President Elect last month that he “may have difficulty finding a candidate who can be embraced by both veteran officials at the agency and the left flank of the Democratic Party”. As I explained on January 6, Obama’s nomination of Leon Panetta to head the CIA should be expected to spark further protests by the troubled agency. It now appears that, having nominated Panetta, the Obama team is slowly backing away from its dispute with the country’s intelligence leadership. The New York Times reports that there is “a growing sense” among observers that the incoming President is “not inclined” to pursue any broad inquiries on warrantless eavesdropping (Operation STELLAR WIND) or the use of torture against CIA detainees in the “global war on terrorism”. Barack Obama himself indicated last Sunday that he believed “we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards” when it comes to past activities of US intelligence agencies. Moreover, the newspaper asserts that “any effort to conduct a wider re-examination would almost certainly provoke a backlash at the country’s intelligence agencies”. It cites the CIA as leading the threatened “backlash” and warns that “many [CIA] officers flatly oppose any further review and may protest the prospect of a broad inquiry into their past conduct”. The article quotes Mark Lowenthal, a retired CIA insider now working in the private sector, who also warns the incoming President that “intelligence officers would be less willing to take risks to protect the country” if past CIA activities are actively investigated by the US government.

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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